Smith, Janet E.
Christian Bioethics. 1998 Apr; 4(1): 45-62.
Cowdin and Tuohey argue for a rethinking of Catholic bioethical principles and the Church's moral authority. Citing the Second Vatican council for support, they argue that if the Church were to respect the proper autonomy of medicine, it would allow sterilizations. In this essay I argue against Cowdin and Tuohey's understanding that the Church has derived its moral laws independent of consultation with medicine and that it treats medicine simply as a source of technical expertise. I also argue that they misunderstand that nature of autonomy as well as the Church's position regarding the type of autonomy they request for medicine. I will especially argue against their understanding of the principles of totality and double effect as "dispensations" from the moral order. I conclude that they have provided no grounds to cause the Church to reconsider its condemnation of all sterilizations.
Autonomy; Contraception; Consultation; Decision Making; Double Effect; Ethics; Health; Historical Aspects; Intention; Law; Laws; Maternal Health; Medicine; Moral Development; Morality; Natural Law; Nature; Physicians; Professional Autonomy; Roman Catholic Ethics; Science; Sexuality; Sterilization; Technical Expertise; Theology;
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